By Rachel Mesch
Right away deeply ancient and unusually well timed, Having all of it within the Belle Epoque exhibits how the debates that proceed to captivate high-achieving girls in the United States and Europe might be traced again to the early 1900s in France. the 1st photographic magazines geared toward girls, Femina and los angeles Vie Heureuse created a feminine position version who may possibly stability age-old conference with new equalities. frequently spoke of easily because the "modern woman," this appealing determine embodied the hopes and goals in addition to the main urgent inner conflicts of huge numbers of French girls in the course of what used to be a interval of profound swap. packed with never-before-studied pictures of the fashionable French lady in motion, Having all of it indicates how those early magazines exploited new photographic applied sciences, creative currents, and literary developments to create a strong version of French femininity, one who has exerted a long-lasting impact on French expression.
This booklet introduces and explores the concept that of Belle Epoque literary feminism, a fabricated from the elite milieu from which the magazines emerged. outlined through its refusal of political engagement, this feminism was once however preoccupied with increasing women's roles, because it labored to build a collective fable of lady success. via an astute combination of historic study, literary feedback, and visible research, Mesch's learn of women's magazines and the preferred writers linked to them deals an unique window onto a bygone period which may function a framework for ongoing debates approximately feminism, femininity, and work-life tensions.
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Extra resources for Having It All in the Belle Epoque: How French Women's Magazines Invented the Modern Woman
The ideal of happiness embodied by these special “Women” would appear in La Vie Heureuse, “in its true state,” promised the editors, as they offered readers comfort from—while inevitably reminding them of—their lesser lot. ” And yet, even with this insistence on traditional class structures, the editors clearly suggested a shift towards a more democratic paradigm: while these exceptional women were born into their superior role, realizing their grace required work. By opening a window onto the “care, 36 Readers and Writers worries and obligations” required of them, the magazine also ensured a lessening of the gulf between humble readers and destinées brillantes— between “women” and “Women,” as it were.
34 Based on interviews with several members of the actual jury, a determination was made that novelist Myriam Harry was the most likely candidate for her critically acclaimed La conquête de Jérusalem. 37 Within weeks of this announcement, De Broutelles had assembled a jury for her new prize, made up of twenty-two female stars of the women’s press and presided over by Anna de Noailles, who presented the first award to Harry herself. The Prix Vie Heureuse has traditionally been recognized as the origin of the current Prix Femina, which remains a highly coveted honor to this day: the magazine’s prizes (and juries) later merged, along with the magazines, for the Prix Femina–Vie Heureuse, only to become the Femina in 1919.
The human-interest stories that filled both magazines’ pages can be read as sustained metaphors for the positive images of modern femininity that the magazines aimed to promote, and thus a kind of extended advertisement for this Belle Epoque modern woman. A September 1, 1903 article in Femina entitled “An Excursion to the Mer de Glace” offers but one example. ” The challenging excursion described in this letter is one where a towering mountain is compared to a gigantic sugar loaf and later Santa Claus.